In today’s well connected age, it is hard for anyone to stay without mobile and more so for business. Changing lifestyle preferences, fast-paced flow of information and the need to stay up-to-date with information on the move, drives employees and managers to frequently keep a check on their mobile devices and be alerted of any messages or calls on the move.
Good cell phones policies and etiquettes are critically important in today’s technology-driven workplace. Mobile phones (including smartphones) are portable, affordable gadgets helping build effective communication between employees and their managers. Agile organisations, who are quick to adapt to change, hold intensive coordination, communication, delegation and supervision on the mobile phone.
Considering the increasing importance of cell phones at work, organisations today insist that employees be on their phones to be reachable at any point of time, anywhere. Communication gaps can be bridged and transmission of data is at a much faster pace than ever before through user-friendly apps such as Slack, WhatApp, Trello and other instant messenger services.
A clear policy and etiquette on the use of cellphones is required to avoid too many interactions and clubbing of information with irrelevant details outside the context of work. Cell phones and use of other gadgets such as tablets should be regulated not only for the sake of office courtesy, but would also help create an effective workplace culture, where people are focused on work and not disturbed with constant pings on their social media accounts or other amusing applications.
Decreasing focus and attention span allocated to work owing to lack of or less-organized cell phone policy tends to create disruptions at work to impact quality and productivity of the taskforce. Hence, HR Managers and employers alike are required to pay utmost attention to setting up and planning of an appropriate mobile phone policy that most suits the workplace culture:
Most employees understand that it is impolite to make or answer a call during important meetings. However, incorrect habits such as always checking the mobile phone for notifications, updating social media newsfeeds, texting and chatting are still frequently done by employees.
Boredom and sleepiness should not be the reason for slacking off during meetings. Less-focus and lack of concentration would make employees less engaged in the meeting, tasks and proactively participate in business discussion. Too much hands-on time with a mobile phone is the evil of all distractions at work. HR managers should set up meeting etiquettes to turn off the mobile devices during meetings and in case allowed, “no reading under the table” should be encouraged.
See: Factors Influencing Employee Satisfaction and Engagement at Work
Employees should be encouraged to set the vibrate mode on their cell phones during the working hours to maintain a conducive workplace environment with less noise and disturbance. Even if there are incoming calls from clients and supervisors, employees should not be encouraged to activate their ringtones. Different ring tone settings and volume with many mobile phones ringing in the office can be quite annoying to other employees who are concentrating on their work.
Even if employees are answering their personal calls during breaks, HR managers should advise them to speak in a private corner, instead of their desks. A private room could be provided as an ideal place to answer the call, listen to the voice more clearly and maintain privacy at the same time.
Employees can further pick call without disturbing or distracting other employees focused at work. Even in private spaces offered for answering calls, employees will still not be encouraged to speak loudly or have long conversations as it will disrupt team workings.
It is common practice for some employees to make or answer calls during restroom breaks. It is important for HR managers to remind employees that restrooms are not the rooms to pick up a call, as everybody in the workplace have the same right to use the facilities.
A long call inside the restroom will also disrupt other’s working and privacy. Rather, employees should be encouraged to use other private room provided for phone usage or simply step out of their desks for a walk and not initiate personal conversations inside the office premises.
Encouraging cell phones policies and etiquettes are important for creation of an effective workplace. HR Managers should not only deliver verbal warnings about this issue, but they should also insert the policy guidelines in employee handbooks, that specifies consequences for those who violate them.
Read also: New Hires with Poor Onboarding Experience are More Likely to Be Disengaged at Work